Black Dog in the Shadows

Depression from Eddi flickr.com
Depression from Eddi flickr.com
The dog black labrador from Dmitry Baevskiy flickr.com
The dog black labrador from Dmitry Baevskiy flickr.com
Black Dog from Dale wants a better screen flickr.com
Black Dog from Dale wants a better screen flickr.com
Face of Depression from Brain Mooney flickr.com
Face of Depression from Brain Mooney flickr.com
Thirst for freedom from Aleksey Narko flickr.com
Thirst for freedom from Aleksey Narko flickr.com
Freedom from fotobaba / GK flickr.com
Freedom from fotobaba / GK flickr.com

Black Dog in the Shadows

By Tony DeLorger © 2014


A momentary lapse and maudlin thought arrests me,

and the trail is long and arduous,

each thought leading to another, ad infinitum,

until perceptions are lost in grief,

and the emotions ascend in torrents,

beheld in the weakness of an overwhelming oppression.


This is the moment to moment reality,

of running with the black dog,

forever at the periphery of thought and emotion,

lurking in the shadows of dark experience,

the terror of incessant anxiety,

and the fear of slipping into the abyss.


No matter the remedy, the black dog is unfailing,

its persistent yet patient ploy ever ready to undermine,

and I, aware of it's intent, stay alert, looking for those signs,

that lapse of cognizance that opens the door,

and well-worn paths appear, smooth and unencumbered,

to deliver us to that edge of confusion and excruciating life.


Forty years have transpired and the dog sits by my side,

well-behaved and obedient, until I slip and a thought strays,

then those dark crystal eyes peer into my soul and prod my secrets,

enlivening the hurts and fears that lurk in my subconscious,

feeding them into a frenzy,

until they flood my mind with doubts and confusion, pain and sorrow.


I face this beast every moment of every day,

and know I always have choices, always have intellect, reason,

yet the dog is smarter than I, and knows those pathways,

knows when I am weakened and even in sleep lies beside me,

waiting, as quiet as a fallen zephyr,

until one turn, one thought, one doubt invites his malevolent intent.


The black dog is my companion, and my nemesis,

and he teaches me more than I knew of myself, before,

yet one becomes exhausted being so vigilant,

so introspective, so detailed in thought and action,

and I still pray that one day he may leave my side,

and I could experience freedom, truly.


Vigilant is the mind of awareness, always at the ready to vet the thoughts of carelessness.

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6 comments

Tony DeLorger profile image

Tony DeLorger 2 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia Author

I'm glad you related to it, Angela. Thanks for taking the time to comment.


Angela Ohm profile image

Angela Ohm 2 years ago from Beach Park, Illinois

I can relate. This is a wonderful poem, Tony.


Tony DeLorger profile image

Tony DeLorger 2 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia Author

All true Maria. It is a curse and a gift, yet another metaphor for life with its joy and pain.


scrittobene profile image

scrittobene 2 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Ah yes. What writer doesn't have a black dog sitting at his feet as he quills poetry and prose straight from the corners of his dark heart and from the cracks of his distorted mind. The black dog has been responsible for some great works for he often ensures that no words of hypocrisy dare stain the page. He offers poets enlightenment and stories and ideas about the darkest of secrets. Secrets that would otherwise be buried and never given flight. Good write Tony.


Tony DeLorger profile image

Tony DeLorger 2 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia Author

Thanks John, glad you related. Have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you and yours.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Wonderful poem Tony, Depression can be a debilitating thing. I have two black dogs of my own already, so I'm not offering to take yours on too, sorry. All the best, Happy New Year.

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